brrrr

October 30th, 2007

Executive Summary: after a few boring posts about micro finance and technology conferences, I come back with a juicy post about… the weather! and naked turkeys.
So yesterday was a sad day: I turned on the heating in my apartment for the first time and wore a scarf for the first time. However, today I sat outside in the sun again, so it looks like we have a few final days of bearable weather here. After that, I’ll be wearing the crazy sleeping bag coat I bought this weekend, along with my new furry hat… pictures to follow.

On the other hand, fall is indeed a beautiful season here. The trees really turn to orange and red (I used to read about it when I was in Israel, but never bought it), here’s a proof:

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Answer: They both came to Harvard to talk about Micro Finance.

Last weekend Muhammad Yunus came to speak at Harvard KSG (Kennedy School of Government). I was lucky to get a ticket to this packed Saturday morning talk, which was quite inspirational. Yunus is a very impressive person: a Bangladeshi professor of economics who founded the non-profit Grameen Bank (“village bank”), a bank based on the concept of Micro Credit: giving small loans to people too poor to qualify for traditional loans or even traditional banking services. Since its inception in 1976, Grameen Bank has issued US$ 6.38 billion to 7.4 million borrowers. More than 95% of the loans have gone to women, who are disproportionally poorer than men. These women have used the money to start their own small business or pay debts. Today, when the bank is already managed and run by some of its ex-loaners, Yunus is busy developing similar non-profit projects in Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world. His dream is to abolish world poverty in the next 30 years, and Grameen Bank has been expanding globally quite quickly. If you’d like to read more about this vision and his way of achieving it, I recommend his bestselling book, Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty.

His talk was short but very interesting; he told us about himself and how he came to think about the idea of Grameen Bank and Micro-Credit: it was after his studied in the US, visited a poor village in Bangladesh and realized that with a collective loan of 27 USD, he could help 42 women repay their debts and start their own business.

Another point in his speech that made me think (it sounds simple, yet you seldom think about it that way):

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Would you like to meet the #8 Entrepreneur in the United States, according to Forbes?

How about the “Rightful Heir to Thomas Edison”, according to Forbes?

And what about one of the 16 “revolutionaries who made America over the past two centuries”, according to PBS?
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What Happens in Vegas…

October 9th, 2007

Last weekend I participated in HBS Las Vegas Trek that was organized by HBS Travel and Hospitality Club. It was awesome!

And since a photo > 1000 words, here’s a photopost about the trek:

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This talk took place on September 25th, 2007. It discussed Staples’ successful marketing campaign, “That Was Easy”.

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